(CBS) Allegations that female Mexican TV reporter Ines Sainz was treated improperly in the New York Jets’ locker room last Saturday have ignited a nationwide debate over how women should be treated in the male-dominated world of professional sports.
CBS News National Correspondent Jeff Glor noted Wednesday that Washington Redskins runningback Clinton Portis added fuel to the fire Tuesday when he called a Washington, D.C. radio show to give his opinion on women reporting in men’s locker rooms.
Portis said, “You sit in the locker room with 53 guys, and all of the sudden you see a nice woman in the locker room, I think men are gonna tend to turn and look and want to say something to that woman.”
The National Football League (NFL) admonished Portis in a statement, saying: “The comments are clearly inappropriate, offensive and have no place in the NFL.”
Portis later apologized.
On “The Early Show,” Tara Sullivan, a sports columnist for The Record, a New Jersey newspaper, and Lauren Streib, a reporter for The Daily Beast website, discussed issues surrounding Sainz’s attire and the way women of the press are treated in men’s locker rooms.
Streib said it’s about dressing appropriately.
“I personally have never been in an locker room, but in newsrooms, when you’re in interviews with sources, you have to dress the part. I think when it becomes distracting, and I don’t want to blame her and I, you know, I’m not personally involved in the situation, but when it becomes distracting, then you question, ‘Is she dressed appropriately?”‘
Sainz wore a white, form-fitting collared shirt and blue jeans for her locker room interview with quarterback Mark Sanchez.
“Early Show” co-anchor Erica Hill asked whether the Mexican TV channel Sainz works for and its standards may be different and play a part here.
Sullivan said, “I think there is a cultural distinction here. I think in the way these stations operate and it fell to the Jets when it got a request for media credentials from this reporter from this station, they could have done investigation and found out this is nothing new from the station, not the only reporter who maybe acts that way or dresses or chooses to dress in certain ways. So I think, once they gave her, though, that credential, their players are now responsible to treat her with respect.”
As for the media storm surrounding her treatment, Streib said it probably wouldn’t be as big a deal if she weren’t as beautiful as she is.
Sullivan disagreed, saying, “It’s an issue for me. I work in locker rooms often. The incidents on the practice field and the way the Jets players were interacting with her, I thought, was inappropriate, in making her a target of things, hooting and hollering. To me, maybe she only had to come in once every six months and it blow up and there will be attention, but I’m in there every day and, if there is an indication that that’s how Jets players or across the NFL — when you listen to Portis’s comments — that indication of underlying resentment is an issue, and to me that’s the primary issue.”
The Jets are currently under investigation by the NFL. So far, Sainz says has no intention of filing any charges.
She said on “The Early Show” Tuesday, “I really believe in what NFL decide(s). Because, they called on Sunday and I made a full declaration of the act — like a witness. And they take very seriously, and I really believe that they find that they need to punish someone, they are going to do it. And if they find if it’s not necessary, I really trust in what they say.”